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Bavaria Media International

Programming Profile

Bavaria Media turns up the volume on its content slate


Almost two years ago, Munich-based Bavaria Media realigned its strategic course to establish contacts with producers worldwide, particularly in the acquisition of programming, in addition to major existing partnerships and framework agreements.


Eva Pfaudler, Bavaria Media’s deputy MD, recently announced a partnership with the renowned production house SPi as well as further national and international high-quality connections.


Having acquired international series Dark Lake and Manners earlier this year, and most recently having added bestseller adaptation Codex 632 to its line-up, the company emphasised its global targeting once more at last week’s Mipcom in Cannes.


Helge Köhnen joined the company as head of content sales last month. He talks us through the company’s new programming slate and distribution strategy, showcasing its programming via C21’s Digital Screenings.


Helge Köhnen, Bavaria Media

As part of this strategy, the company plans to become involved in national and international productions at a much earlier stage than it has before.


“All this is made possible by the work of our experienced and interconnected team of the acquisition department, consisting of Maike Haas, Eva Püttmann and Lisa Fidyka, as well as the strong network of producers and partners within and outside of Bavaria Film Group,” says Köhnen.
“We are working hand-in-hand with our acquisitions team and as soon as they have an interesting project for co-financing or gap-financing, we’ll speak together and find out how they could work internationally and locally,” Köhnen says.


Bavaria Media is showcasing 11 projects via C21’s Digital Screenings, all of which are dramas it was offering to buyers at Mipcom last week. The slate is headlined by three projects: The Heart of Cape Town (Producers at Work), Cold Valleys (Allegro Film) and Chaos (Amalga).


The Heart of Cape Town
The Heart of Cape Town

The Heart of Cape Town is a new historical 1×105’ event movie about a female German doctor and a black South African doctor who team up in their fight for equality and fairness. Together, they assist the world’s first heart transplant in the 1960s during Apartheid. It is a fictionalised drama inspired by the life of Dr Hamilton Naki.


Also new, Cold Valleys is a 10×90’ series of crime movies based on Austrian author Claudia Rossbacher’s bestselling novels. The films follow two police officers from different sides of the tracks who make for an unlikely team to solve the twisted rural crimes in the insular Alpine countryside.


Chaos, meanwhile, is a 10×45’ Canadian suspense drama that follows a group of teenagers whose lives change forever after they attend a concert during which there is an explosion, resulting in deaths and injuries. The series follows the police investigation that attempts to unravel the mystery behind the fateful day.


Cold Valleys
Cold Valleys

Another new project on Bavaria Media’s playlist is 1×90’ film Sugarlovedotcom, a thriller about a couple who are otherwise happy in their 32-year marriage but are having trouble in the bedroom. The pair decide to outsource their problem via an arrangement with a young student, but things get out of hand, with dangerous results.


Like Chaos, mystery crime thriller Dark Lake also comes from Canada and is one of the projects Bavaria Media has secured as it works to expand its offering of international content. The 8×60’ series centres on a city cop who transfers with her son to a seemingly serene and secluded village in the Laurentian Forest around the Great Lakes – serene, that is, until people start to disappear without a trace.


Also on Bavaria Media’s international slate is Manners, a 2×37’ or 1×74’ Icelandic drama about a lead singer of a band who has a one-night fling with a schoolgirl fan, leading to disastrous consequences.



Another upcoming international project is six-part Portuguese series Codex 632, based on José Rodrigues dos Santos’s novel of the same name. The adventure and suspense show follows a history professor and cryptology specialist who is hired by an Italian foundation to decrypt the research of his mentor, following his death in mysterious circumstances. The launch of the show is planned for MipTV 2023.


In line with Bavaria Media’s plan to introduce new formats with innovative topics, All You Need is an 11×30’ dramedy series that follows the love lives of four young gay men in Berlin. France’s Canal+ has already picked up the series, which was produced by UFA Fiction for ARD Degeto.


“All You Need is the first series on German public television to handle this topic in an open way like this. On the other hand, it handles universal topics like search for stable relationship and love, showing that homosexual and heterosexual life concepts are not completely contrary. This makes the series appealing for all viewerships. We already have clients internationally on board this series with Canal+ in France and Finnish broadcaster YLE,” Köhnen says.


Dark Lake
Dark Lake

In the family entertainment space is 1×96’ adventure feature film A Secret Book of Friendship, in which two boys run away on the archetypal treasure hunt. Described as Huckleberry Finn meets Indiana Jones, the film explores themes like depression, isolation and young confusion as an unbreakable friendship is born.


The final two projects on Bavaria Media’s playlist are long-running series Storm of Love and Young Doctors. Storm of Love is a soap opera with a new 225×50’ season that follows several interwoven plots about relationships taking place in a hotel. Young Doctors comprises 336×48’ episodes in total. The new season follows a deaf doctor who is promoted to senior physician after successfully performing a complicated and risky operation.


“We have received a great deal of attention for our more international and diversified catalogue at Mipcom. Thus, Bavaria Media is confident to continue pursuing its approach of early participation in exciting and promising national and international projects with a great deal of professionalism, reliability and charm,” Köhnen says.

More programming profiles

  • 20-10-2021

    From a meditation on grief to a pizzeria that is a front for a money-laundering operation, Munich-based Bavaria Media International boasts a wide-ranging slate of compelling stories. Director of international sales Carlos Hertel discusses the company’s new playlist on C21’s Digital Screenings.


    The origins of Bavaria Film date back to 1919, when it evolved out of a studio built in a Munich suburb by film producer Peter Ostermayr. Within just a few years, it was used by iconic directors such as Alfred Hitchcock to make The Pleasure Garden, Stanley Kubrick to film Paths of Glory and Elia Kazan to make Man on a Tightrope.


    Now, a century later, Germany’s answer to Hollywood is still in use as a production facility (and tourist attraction), while Bavaria Film has become one of Europe’s largest film and TV producers. Most recently, it acquired German production company Story House to expand its remit even further into the factual and factual entertainment genres.

  • 09-10-2020

    Carlos Hertel of Bavaria Media discusses the German company’s C21 Digital Screenings playlist and explains why local content is thriving internationally.


    German drama “is in constant and increasing demand,” say Carlos Hertel, director of international sales at Munich-based Bavaria Media International, who credits the boom to a vibrant local industry and big global platforms investing heavily in original German content.


    “We have a very vivid, closely connected creative community that works together,” Hertel adds, pointing to a combined effort between commissioning and financing that he says is “shaping the future output of content.”


    Hertel has been responsible for international distribution at Bavaria Media International, the rights trading subsidiary of the Bavaria Film Group, since 2017, representing a catalogue of more than 20,000 hours of programming across multiple genres.